Milddogs Ride Again!

Yup, it happened. But how did it happen? Where did they go? What did they ride?

Hasn’t been much of a riding year for me. I’ve only put about 2000 km on the Super Tenere. Mostly because I was commuting with another person to work for the summer. Weather didn’t help motivate us to plan any weekend adventures. I’ve seen Dendog a bunch this summer, but we usually travel with our families and that means: No motorcycle trips!

But that all changed Sept 19, 2014. The culminating weekend of the 2.5 year preparations and celebrations for my birthday. The preparations began in earnest when I purchased my Super Tenere with the goal of riding to Alaska.

A few weeks ago I read this post on the Super Tenere Forums: Wife buys dude a Grom. I thought, “hey, that’s really cool”. I had been watching Honda Grom Youtube videos during the rainy summer and thought, “hey, that’s really cool”. A little bike to fart around on. Cool. I had mentioned them to my son and wife and Dendog.

On Sept 18th, Dendog, Mrs. Dendog and our mommy arrived at my house in my dad’s truck. With a Honda Grom in the bed of the truck! It was for me! My wife had purchased a Grom for me! Dendog did the procuring at Hully Gully in London, ON.

Friday Morning, Dendog and I unloaded it, laughed at the tiny battery, put some gas in it and fired it up. We rode up and down the street a bit, adjusted the clutch and then suited up for the maiden ride. Dendog rode the Super Tenere for the first time and I rode the Grom. It was a blast. Had to stop for fuel and filled it up with $4.60 of gas. Dudes at the gas station were staring. I was in my full gear, riding this tiny bike and taking with Dendog on the intercoms while I fueled up. He was out of sight so it probably looked like I was talking to myself. A bit like the old days of Bluetooth headsets.

We did about 50 km around the back roads. Up hills it was a struggle to maintain speed. The little Grom isn’t broken in yet. Can’t see anything out of the mirrors. One of the neat features is that with a full face helmet, you can’t see the bike at all as you are riding.

I have to think about what mods I am going to do. Would be nice to get a few more km/h to make the commute to work viable (almost all 80 km/h roads). Most popular performance mods seem to be
-taking out the restricting tube in the air intake (I already did this)
-new exhaust
-Power Commander
-big bore kit (any size up to 181 CC)

I was joking with my wife that I could spend $400 and get an exhaust system that cuts the bikes weight by 5 lbs. Or, for free, I could lose 5 lbs ūüôā

Now that I have two bikes again, Dendog and I can ride when he is in town. Next summer we hope to do the east coast and finish the provinces. I’ll take the Tenere ūüôā

I think I need racing leathers to go with the Grom!

We went out for dinner Friday night. We went to Kelsey’s. It wasn’t great, but it was better than Smitty’s!

Peace out!

Some pictures:

Dave's Grom

Dave’s Grom

Blue and Red

Blue and Red

600lbs vs 225lbs

600lbs vs 225lbs

Big and Little

Big and Little

Big and Little

Big and Little

After a ride in the country, returned home with exactly 100km on the ODO

After a ride in the country, returned home with exactly 100km on the ODO

Dendog on the Grom

Dendog on the Grom

Otis and I, a riding went

Gorilla Pod selfie at Calebogie Lake

Gorilla Pod selfie at Calebogie Lake

Cousin Otis and I chose to ignore the world and go for a lovely ride May 31, 2014. Nope, we didn’t join the “Ride for Dad” (which is a great charity event), we went our own way. ¬†I’m not big on group rides.

Nature gave us an absolutely wonderful day.

Some background first

Otis an I last rode together in 1988 (or so). Despite the fact that we only live about 50km apart, we don’t get together very often. Between 1988 and a few years ago, we both took a hiatus from riding but are now both firmly back in the saddle. On one of our last rides together, Otis’s Harley had a malfunction so we rode two up on my Yamaha Maxim 400 with Otis on the seat usually reserved for the rider’s female companion. We were significantly over the weight limit of the Maxim and it could barely make it up any hills. We weren’t quite this bad. ¬†We gave up at the next significant town (Smith’s Falls, ON, for the record) and called our uncle Claude. ¬†He jumped in his van, drove the hour to meet us, picked up Otis, went back and got Otis’ bike and delivered them both safely home. ¬†I carried on with the rhythm of my Maxim’s engine going “thank you, thank you, thank you”.

Otis and I have very different bikes.  He has an wonderful classic BMW K100 circa 1988 (I might be off a year), while I have my Alaska proven Yamaha Super Tenere with all the mod cons.

Back to May 31, 2014

We didn’t have firm plans other than to ride the 511 from Perth, ON to Calebogie, ON, then re-plan once we got there. ¬†I had never ridden the 511. ¬†It was nice. ¬†Very little traffic (most of it bikes), lovely corners and hills.

The Spotwalla track isn’t super exciting, but here it is.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=9cca537bf388bfb25

The Sena SMH10 intercoms were awesome (again).  We left them open the entire trip and had some great laughs and conversations.

We saw many other motorcyclists heading in the other direction on the Ride for Dad tour. When I got home, I got a text from a dude I work with (Mr. Street Triple) stating that he saw us.  I now have to go through my GoPro video to try and find him! That sounds easier than it is.

We stopped fairly frequently because we weren’t really in a rush and because I have to pee every 8 minutes and 17 seconds.

At Calebogie, we decided the best choice for us was to just head back down the 511 to my place and catch some pool time.

Overall, a great ride.  We came home intact, had a swim and a cold beverage.  Our thoughts were with Dendog and his peeps. Hopefully we can ride with him soon for a short Milddogs 2014.

New Gear Reviews

I am no longer acquiring new farkles nor gear for riding.  I pretty well bought everything anyone would ever need leading up to the Alaska trip.  For this trip I only had two minor additions.

GoPro Mounting: ¬†I salvaged one of my broken Hero 3 cases and mounted it hard wired to the mounting bar on my Madstad bracket. ¬†This placed the camera behind the windscreen and allows me to record continuously for about 8 hours at 720p 60fps. ¬†To make this mount I affixed one of the sticky mounts to the back of the case. ¬†Drilled through the side to plug in a USB cable semi-sealing with a rubber gasket. I then had to make two short aluminum bars to perform the equivalent of a gender bender. ¬†I’ll post some video shot with this mount later.

Rescued GoPro case.

Rescued GoPro case.

Arai Pro Shade System: I just got this Friday when Mrs. Milddogs picked it up at the UPS Store in Ogdensburg. Not available yet in Canada – I tried, but available at Revzilla¬†at the time. ¬†This is an interesting way to get a sun shade / peak without compromising the integrity of helmet. ¬†Despite what the instructions say, I added a light smoke pinlock. ¬†At first I did not think much of this device. ¬†But, out on the road, I really liked the combo. ¬†No sunglasses needed. ¬†As Anthony¬†says in his review, it could provide more coverage. ¬†The only weakness I encountered was glare from my instrument panel coming up under the coverage provided by the pro shade in the down position. ¬†But, it doesn’t cost much more than a regular visor and seems to be worth the difference in price.

New Arai Pro Shade

New Arai Pro Shade

Some Pictures

Stick Selfie at Calabogie Lake

Stick Selfie at Calabogie Lake

Gorilla Pod shot at Clyde River dam near Lanark.

Gorilla Pod shot at Clyde River dam near Lanark.

Otis at the Dam

Otis at the Dam

Damn, we found a dam on the Clyde river. We did not get the whole dam tour.

Damn, we found a dam on the Clyde river. We did not get the whole dam tour.

Remember to love your people, call your cousin and thank your Uncle Claude (if you are lucky enough to have one).

Motorcycle Specific Gear for Alaska Trip

I’ve covered off the things that were more or less attached to the bike. This post covers the gear that was more or less attached to me. Mostly it covers the outer shell parts.
The inner layers consisted of various combinations of:

  • Under Armour T-shirts (just brought 2)
  • ExOfficio underware (3)
  • Columbia zip off pants (2)
  • 2 different weights of Merino wool base layer
  • Icebreaker wool socks (3)
  • MEC 200 weight fleece jacket

And now for the outer gear. ¬†The important point here is that my jacket and pants never let any water in. ¬†The boots did a bit during the driving rain from Tok to Whitehorse but in all fairness, the dirty roads had done a number on the leading edge of the toes of the boots. The Summit H20 gloves leaked. ¬†Rev’IT has offered replacement but I really like them and I figure the next set will likely leak too. ¬†Reviews seem to indicate that waterproof gloves are rarely waterproof for very long.

I would only change two things with the items listed below.

  • Klim did not have Hi-Viz colors in the Badlands Pro jacket when I bought mine. There were two choices; Black and Grey. ¬†Since grey was not available anywhere, I went with black. ¬†Black is not visible enough (hence the Hi-Viz CamelBak I got).
  • My Klim gloves are a bit too small for me. ¬†I should have bought a larger size. ¬†Even stretching attempts have not yielded comfort.

I am very much an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) person. ¬†I wear the same outer layer in all weather. ¬†It works well. ¬†On really hot days you don’t really want to be at a standstill even thought the Klim gear vents amazingly well.

To aid in cooling on the really hot days we had “Heat Busters” that we got at Mark’s Work Warehouse. ¬†They are a neckerchief that has water absorbing stuff in it. ¬†I also had a Frogg Togg’s Chilly Pad. ¬†We would put these in the cooler for a refresh when we stopped. The Chilly Pad gives up its cold water more readily but they tend to mold. ¬†The Heat Busters cool your neck for a bit.

I did not buy the bike shorts until the trip home. ¬†I wish I had watched this video before we left. You can fast forward to 3:36 or so. ¬†Or, just accept that Tracy says something like “Bicycle shorts, for any kind of long distance riding, they are gold. Trust me.”

Here is the list of gear with links. ¬†No money has changed hands. But hey, Klim, if you are reading this, I’d love to swap my jacket for the Hi-Viz version. ¬†I’d take that sponsorship.

Item Manufacturer Category Purchased At Link
Badlands Pro Jacket Klim Shell http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Traverse Pants Klim Shell http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Armor For Traverse Pants Klim Safety http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Suspenders Klim Comfort http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Rev’IT Alaksa Gloves Rev’IT Gloves http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.revit.eu/en/#/home
Rev’IT Summit H20 Gloves Rev’IT Gloves http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/ http://www.revit.eu/en/#/home
Adventure Gloves Klim Gloves http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Adventure Gore-Tex Sidi Boots http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.sidisport.com/scheda.php?macro=2&id=14&lng_riv=
Arai Signet-Q Arai Helmet http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.araiamericas.com/#/home
Light Smoke Pinlock Visor Arai Helmet http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.araiamericas.com/#/home
Balaclava Klim Insulation http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.klim.com/
Buff Buff Many http://www.buyabuff.com/ http://www.buyabuff.com/
Camelbak Hi-Viz Camelbak Hydration / Safety http://www.copsplus.com/ http://shop.camelbak.com/hiviz/d/1135
Sena SMH-10 Intercom Sena Communication http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Lance Armstrong Bicycle Shorts Nike Comfort Sports Experts
Ear-Plugs (disposable on a string)

Super Tenere Farkles (accessories) for the Alaska Trip

During the heat of preparation for a big trip, you can lose track of what you have done and possibly how much you have spent. ¬†I’m glad to have lost track of how much I spent. ¬†This post contains a list of the accessories (farkles in cool internet terms) I added to the bike. Not all are permanently attached. ¬†Many deserve complete reviews. ¬†The internet has taught us that we are rarely original. ¬†My combination of farkles might be unique, but I’m not the only one to have any one of the items. ¬†Most of my research was done on motorcycle forums. ¬†Most notably,¬†http://www.yamahasupertenere.com/ and¬†http://advrider.com/forums/ ¬†and the wonderful links, trip reports, reviews that are shared on these sites. ¬†Note that I have never posted on the forums. ¬†I’m a lurker. ¬†The reviews on Revzilla and Anthony’s videos are pretty helpful too.

I had a great spreadsheet that listed everything I was bringing, why and where it was stored. ¬†I lost that spreadsheet in the great “iCloud is full so remove the account from one of my iDevices and all of my content disappeared” human error incident of 2013.

I have included links to some items and where I bought them. ¬†I try to buy locally (or at least in Canada) but sometimes can’t resist the huge savings that you can sometimes get shopping in the US of A. ¬†One exception is the tires. ¬†I bought those at Revzilla and got a good price. ¬†Price in Canada from certain online retailers would have been very close, however, the tires were not available in Canada when I needed them.

I also found that talking to some of the staff at local stores and most notably the guys at Dual Sport Plus was really beneficial. ¬†It’s really nice when you can get advice that results in spending ZERO dollars.

There are a few things that I would change:

  • The Wolfman dry duffel was great. ¬†But I didn’t need it. ¬†All of the contents were in dry bags so I could have gone with a durable cordura duffel for significantly less money.
  • I used a regular 1 gallon gas can for auxiliary fuel. ¬†I did not need it. ¬†I was going to go with a rotopak, but that was a lot of money for something I did not really need. ¬†The problem was that the gas can moved around on my pristine AltRider luggage rack marring the surface permanently. ¬†Not their fault. ¬†If I had a do-over, I’d buy the rotopax and mount, it would not have moved around.
  • Small hard top case. ¬†Dendog had a “KLR Style” hard case and it was really handy for just dropping things in. ¬†I wish I had a small one of those for gloves, snacks and other frequently accessed items.
  • Single versus dual duffel. ¬†We followed a guy through parts of Minnesota (I think) and he had a nice setup on his BWM K series. ¬†Side bags, a small top case and small duffel bags on the top of each top case. I assumed he knew what he was doing since he had a lot of state /province stickers on the back of his side bags. I liked that setup as it would allow me access to the side bags without removing the large duffel bag that straddled the side bags.
  • Protect the top of the Side bags. ¬†The duffel did move around on top of the side bags marring the surface of the side bags. ¬†If I did it again, I’d have added some kind of thin nylon to the top of the side bags to take the abrasion.
  • Get a fenda-extenda (I did not make up that name). ¬†Would help protect the front of the engine from crap thrown by the front wheel.

I didn’t mention it below, I bought my Super Tenere at Motor Sports World. ¬†Great people. Dendog’s Versys came from Ottawa Goodtime Centre. ¬†Also really great to deal with.

Remember, I’m not compensated by anyone for any of this content. ¬†Links are provided as a courtesy. ¬†I am happy to do business with all of these entities.

Oh, one last thing. ¬†It’s not really a farkle, but we used a Polar Bear cooler the entire way. It was awesome. ¬†It spent the entire trip strapped to something. ¬†I just wish they made an 8 pack model. ¬†We used the 6 pack (not for beer) and it was just a bit cramped some days.

I still don’t want to eat at Smitty’s.

Item Manufacturer Category Purchased At Link
Skid Plate AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-skid-plate-for-the-yamaha-super-tenere-xt-1200z/pid/690/cid/1
Engine Guards Alt Rider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-crash-bars-for-the-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/600/cid/1
Luggage Rack AltRider Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-rear-luggage-rack-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/625/cid/1
Side Stand Foot AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-side-stand-foot-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/1307/cid/1
Master Cylinder Guard AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-rear-brake-master-cylinder-guard-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/378/cid/1
Universal Joint Guard AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-universal-joint-guard-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/368/cid/1
Tank Protectors (side) TechSpec Bike Protection TechSpec http://techspec-usa.com/magento/
Tank Protector (back) Yamaha Bike Protection http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
ROX Pivoting 2″ Risers ROX Comfort http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Brake / Clutch Line Extenders RideOnAdv Comfort http://rideonadv.com/ http://rideonadv.com/shop/brakes/rideonadv-super-tenere-long-lines/
MadStad Windshield Bracket (with Cross Bar) MadStad Comfort http://www.madstad.com http://www.madstad.com/s.nl/it.A/id.887/.f
Madstad Stabilizer Bars Home made Comfort  
Touring Windshield Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Side Defelctors Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Heated Grips Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Front Auxiliary Lights – Rigid 90611 Rigid Safety http://www.dualsportplus.com/
Rear Aux Lights Skene P3 Brake / Tail Lights Skene Safety http://www.motorcycleinnovations.ca/ http://www.motorcycleinnovations.ca/Skene_P3_Lights_p/p3.htm
Throttle Lock Excel Comfort http://www.excelthrottlecontrol.com/index.htm http://www.excelthrottlecontrol.com/index.htm
Jesse Odyssey II 10″ Side Bags Jesse Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.jesseluggage.com/
Tank Bag Yamaha Storage http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Dry Duffel Bag (Large, Expedition) Wolfman Storage http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=104
FuzeBlock FZ4 FuzeBlocks Electrical http://www.fuzeblocks.com/ http://www.fuzeblocks.com/
Optimate USB Port Optimate Electrical http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.dualsportplus.com/product_p/o100.htm
Optimate Flashlight Optimate Electrical http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.dualsportplus.com/product_p/o120.htm
GPS (Garmin Car $100 GPS with Sandwich bag cover) Garmin Navigation Coscto
GPS Lock Home made Security
GPS Mount RAM Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
GPS Hard Wire Kit Garmin Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Spot Mount RAM Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Stop N Go Tire Repair Service Ottawa Goodtime Centre http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/
Spot Messenger (Gen 2) Spot Safety GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Alaska Sheepskin Seat Cover Alaska Leather Comfort http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront
Bike Lock Kryptonite Security Ottawa Goodtime Centre http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/
Bike Cover (Half Cover) Nelson Rigg Security http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Shorai Battery Shorai Reliability  http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Helmet Lock Home made Security
Duffle Bag Lock Home made Security
Rok Straps Rok Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/
Michelin Anakee 3 Tires Tires Tires http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Various Retroreflective Stickers Many Safety

Epilogue: Part 1

I rode a 2013 FJR 1300 and I liked it!  But no purchase yet.  I love the Super Tenere.  The seating position, the awesome ABS and Traction Control, the fact that I have it completely farkled.  But, the FJR was really nice too!  The guys at www.motorsportsworld.com let me ride the FJR.

I have washed the Super Tenere 4 times now. ¬†I’ve swapped the tires back to the pre-trip tires. ¬†Changed the oil, but not the rear diff fluid yet. ¬†I really have to take the bike apart to finish cleaning it.

Since returning from the awesome Alaskan adventure, both Dendog and I have had a bunch of questions.  Here are some of them and some plausible answers.

Q:  Would you do it again?
A:  NO WAY!!!  Not the way we did it.  Too many miles in too short a period of time.  It was hard to stop and just take it in when we had so much distance to cover.

Q:  What would you have changed?
A: ¬†¬†It would have been great to have the time to stay in Dawson City for a few days waiting for some nice weather to do the Top of the World / Taylor higways. ¬†We didn’t have that luxury so we rode on one of the 4 rainy days that we had (5 for me). Bit of a drag to have the high point also be a low point.
The seat on the Super Tenere.  It just hated my thighs. I will have to go for a Russel Day Long custom seat this winter.
I would have liked to camp more.  A more relaxed schedule would have helped with this.

Q: What is the ideal size of a riding group
A:  Whatever works for you.  Dendog and I get along well.  With only two of us it made hotels & camping easy.  One room or one site.  Any larger a group and we may need more rooms or sites.  Also, with only two people you are dealing with fewer individual circadian rhythms.  Easier to get going and rest stops are faster.  I think there is also merit in doing a long trip solo.  That would be pretty cool, but not as cool as traveling with an awesome friend or friends or brother.

Q:  Wish you could have taken a different bike?
A:  Nope.  The Super Tenere was awesome (ignoring the seat this time).  I do wish I had spooned on some Heidenau K60 tires in Whitehorse and then swapped back after we did the dirt roads.

Q:  What happened with all of the failed equipment?
A: ¬†I’ve had pretty good luck. ¬†Klim came through with replacement knee and elbow armor (only one pad failed). ¬†GoPro sent we a new case for my HD Hero (since I had already purchase one for the Hero 3) and Rev’It! were very quick to offer warranty on the gloves.

Q:  What is the next trip?
A:  No plans yet.  We know it will be much shorter.  We know we would like to include a few other guys like Otis & Rob.

Q: What is my single favorite memory? (my aunt asked me this and it really made me think).
A: ¬†There isn’t a single one as there are too many. ¬†But here are some highlights.
Making it to Alaska.  That was the goal, we did it!
Riding through the herd of Bison.  Totally cool.
Seeing bears. ¬†Lot’s and lot’s of bears.
The intercom banter with Dendog.
The LAST grated metal bridge!!!!  -celebration time
Kluane Lake.
Muncho Lake.
Dawson City and the confluence of the Yukon & Klondike rivers.
Meeting other people and sharing briefly in their journeys.
Liard River Hotsprings (even with the mosquitos)
Arriving home!

Coming soon, equipment reviews. I promise. More videos too. When I get time to edit them.

Day 20: Home: 855 km

July 18, 2013

Dendog’s mileage was less at about 750 km.

We got up early so Dendog could make the ferry over to Tobermory, ON.  Dendog obsessed over watched the radar again and we made a break around 7:10 a.m.  Spotwalla knows the departure time more accurately.  It was cloudy and had been raining when we left.  We were trying to split the weather systems again and it worked. We had a few drops fall on us and the roads were wet.

We rode in a single shot from SSM to Espanola. ¬†We saw our last bear of the trip running along a side road near Serpent River, ON. ¬†That was Dendog’s first bear sighting in Ontario. Everyone in Espanola loves Tim Horton’s, and the entire town was there to greet us. ¬†They may not have known that was why they were there, but it seems they were all there. ¬†So we skipped the Tim’s and got gas at the neighboring station. Then we had to say goodbye.

IMG_0955

My ride was pretty uneventful. ¬†I did try to educate people on how to use passing lanes. ¬†I’m not sure they heard me, but I tried. ¬†The rules are simple: ¬†Accelerate before you pull out. Pass the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible so others can pass it too. ¬†If you are being passed, don’t speed up, it’s not a race.

I found myself hitting the intercom button a few times. Sharing all of the little moments with my brother was one of the coolest things about this trip.

I reminisced as I passed the turn off for Sportman’s Lodges east of Sudbury, ON where I went canoe camping with some friends last October. I stopped for gas in North Bay. Stopped a picnic spot between North Bay and Deep River for some food. ¬†The group self-portrait wasn’t the same.

Where's my brother?

Where’s my brother?

More gas in Deep River and then a straight run home.  I was lucky in that I was always just behind the rain.  Some of the roads were damp.  The temperature was never too high.  It got to 31 C for a brief time near Pembroke, ON but then cooled down to more comfortable temperatures.  The rain must have cooled things down for me.

I pulled over a few km from home and affixed the GoPro to my helmet to catch the return home event.

I ate a glorious meal of Noodles Don Don. ¬†As you can expect, it was way better than Smitty’s.

So this is what we did: ¬†13, 248 km. ¬†(total for Dave). ¬†We had only one day when we didn’t ride (Whitehorse). ¬†Dave’s total trip time was 21 days (20 for Dendog), which means an average of 631 km/ day, or 662 km/day only including the travel days.

Overview of the trip.

Overview of the trip.

Now it’s time for cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. ¬†Then maintenance and some small repairs.

In future posts we will review some of the equipment, we’ll add some video, maybe augment a few of the posts with more pictures.

Note that Spotwalla will no longer be reporting my position.

Love your people.  We missed ours.  Great to be home.  I feel a bit like Bobby Ewing.

Day 19: Sault Ste. Marie, ON: 728 km

July 17, 2013

Today was an awesome riding day! Weather, you were so good to us today. Our local meteorologist, Dendog, nailed our get away perfectly. He obsessed over watched the radar for 2.5 hours until he figured we could leave between the current band of showers and the next band. He then forecast that by the time we got to Nippigon the weather would have passed to the south. He was right on all fronts. We had a few drops on the way out but that was it.

Early in the ride we passed by the Terry Fox memorial and mile marker 3339. He was a real hero. I can’t begin to imagine what he went through in life, nor during the Marathon of Hope.

Like most of the journey, I had never been to this part of the country. The north shore of Superior is beautiful. The hills, the vistas, the lush greens, the enormity of the lake. Had me in awe.

We stopped for snacks and at a few other rest stops. Gas prices in this part of Ontario are similar to the prices in remote BC.

The temperature change was really interesting. Near the lake we got as low as 17 C up at the north part of the trip. We were as high as 30 C inland. Once we got near the lake again we would drop 6 or 7 degrees. That was really welcome as today was much more comfortable.

Some pictures:

The big lake they call Gitchigoomi.

The big lake they call Gitchigoomi.

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How we took the self portrait.

Superior

Superior

The bikes at Superior

The bikes at Superior

Superior

Superior

Dave taking pictures

Dave taking pictures

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Hanging at the picnic spot

Hanging at the picnic spot

Tonight is the last night we spend together. Tomorrow we break “camp” early to try and make the push home. We may ride together to Espanola, ON but Dendog has a ferry to catch so he may have to leave first. We will see. We both have options to stay at if the weather is crappy or if we are too tired. But we both look forward to seeing our people too.

Because it is our last night together we did a video summary that we can torment our families with later. So far, this has been an amazing trip. Plenty of miles, no major mishaps. We have seen a lot.

Tomorrow we will re-enact the scene from “Strange Brew” when Bob and Doug separate in the Elsinore Brewery. Not sure who will be Bob and who will be Doug.

For those following on Spotwalla, it stays with me. Dendog’s peeps know how to track him.

Neither of us will likely blog tomorrow. The summary of the last day will follow soon. We will even write some equipment reviews. I may write a restaurant review: OK, here it is: Eat anywhere but Smitty’s!

Tonight we had DQ for dessert. ¬†It’s important to get your dairy! ¬†For the first time on this trip, they got my Peanut Buster Parfait Blizzard right! ¬†The dietary consultant that took my order fully understood that it was just chocolate sauce and peanuts. ¬†That’s it! ¬†Thank you Sault Ste. Marie DQ!

We look forward to a safe return home.

Peace out.

 

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Day 18: Thunder Bay, ON: 766 km

July 16, 2013

Give me a place to stand, and place to grow, and call this land, Ontario…

Hey Mom, I want to go, back to Ontario, hey Mom, I want to go home.

Hey Mom, I want to go, back to Ontario, hey Mom, I want to go home. We noticed the nice sign a km later. Oops.

It was hot Hot HOT (cue Buster Poindexter).

It was a great start to the day. The hotel had a nice breakfast and Dendog and I “rushed” out the door hoping to avoid the impending doom of the stormy forecast. We were fortunate in that not a single drop of rain fell on us. Some of the roads were still wet, so we timed our departure amazingly well.

But oh it was hot. Most of the day was above 30 C. It peaked at 35 C. We spent hours riding when it was 33 C. We have “Heat Busters” (guessing at the name) and I have a Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad. We kept those in the cooler until they were needed. At each stop we took them off and put them back in the cooler. It helps.

At the Eagle Lake, ON rest stop we were about to settle into our usual Snickers and Granola bar lunch when a nice couple from Toronto (yes, a nice couple from Toronto) offered us some sandwiches. We enjoyed those and a nice visit with them. They were travelling by car to Winnipeg and then on to Calgary. As I have mentioned before, many people talk to us and ask us about our journey. Doesn’t happen by car.

Chillin' at Eagle Lake

Chillin’ (ha ha) at Eagle Lake

Note that the distance in the title might be a bit off. Something may be screwy in my records.

My bike passed 20,000 km on the odometer today. I’ve never had a bike with that many km on it. I’ve also not ridden more than 7000 km in an entire season.

There were 6 short bridges down to single lanes between Thunder Bay and Dryden. Dendog and I had a system to help keep the bikes cool and all was good.

Our hotel is pretty good. No pool, so we went for a walk. We had Pizza Hut for dinner, it was much better than Smitty’s too. Everything is much better than Smitty’s.20130716-221932.jpg

Tomorrow is another 700km day as we head towards Sault Ste Marie, ON. It will be our last night together as we each have to head home the next day.

Ride the dream!

Day 17: Winnipeg, MB: 446 km

July 15, 2013

We had really good intentions of starting the day with some video recording action, a stop at Walmart and a nice relaxed late start. The clouds started rolling in to Yorkton and the forecast was a bit scary. We decided to hit the road assuming we would find a Walmart later.

We were fortunate in that we did not get any rain today. The temperature got up to 30 C by the time we got to Winnipeg. That’s not too bad as long as we are moving. When we stop, it’s yucky. We will get our neck coolers ready for tomorrow. I think we can now safely pack away the warm clothes.

Our hope for today was a nice relaxing ride into Manitoba. It turned out to be pretty windy. The wind was coming from the south so this gave us a cross wind mostly. We didn’t do any throttle lock races. I am hoping the GoPro video nicely shows the impact the wind was having on us.

Speaking of the GoPro. Argh! No, I didn’t break the case again. It turns out that every time I cut the contents from the micro SD card, the GoPro restarts the file naming at 1. This means files get the same name as yesterday’s. I noticed this yesterday for the first time and was able to recover everything back to July 10th. I’ve lost some content from before that including some of the ride from Dawson City to Tok. Also gone is the video of Kluane Lake. Drag. We have 6 other cameras, none of them behave like this (and I can’t find the setting in the GoPro 3 to change the behavior). As my wife said, I’ll just have to go back! I’m not sure she meant it.

I was surprised at how hilly Manitoba is. Compared to Saskatchewan, Manitoba is pretty darn hilly.

We entered a new province and got the picture!

Welcome to Manitoba.

Welcome to Manitoba.

We were there just a few seconds ago.

We were there just a few seconds ago.

We stopped at a rest stop. It’s amazing how they are so scarce in some places. Dennis liked this one.

Dendog was happy:  "A real rest stop".

Dendog was happy: “A real rest stop”.

There are roads and a lot of sky visible.

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I saw another Super Tenere. This time a black one, it was heading west. Saw it just before we got to Portage La Prairie. That makes four now.

We stopped for gas and shade.

We stopped for gas and shade.

Our hotel is really nice. We’d like to thank our travel agent / accountant for booking us here and not the Comfort Inn down the street.

Tomorrow we make a longer trek to Thunder Bay, ON. It is about 700 km but we expect it to be a long day. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. We will try and get an early start.

I wonder how long it will take to regain feeling in my left thumb?

-Keep on rocking!

 

Day 16: Yorkton, SK: 629 km

July 14, 2013

Today was a beautiful day.  It was sunny, a nice temp @ 21 C and the roads were in great shape.

We had throttle lock races. ¬†Dendog wins in the uphill sections. ¬†I assume this is because he is in his power-band and because his bike is 100 lbs lighter. It’s a fun way to pass the time on the VERY STRAIGHT roads.

Dendog riding in SK

Dendog riding in SK

Our wildlife count was limited to prairie dogs. ¬†I’m not a bird guy, but we always see a bunch of birds. ¬†Birds seem to like to fly at us.

It was really neat approaching Guernsey, SK as there is a huge mine. Since this is the prairies, you could see it for miles.

We did not have any trouble finding gas stations, unlike our last trip through Saskatchewan.

We had an extended stop in Wynyard, SK. ¬†We got gas, Dendog got some A3W and then we hit the car wash (working at the…).

Dendog's rad before.

Dendog’s rad before.

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Dave washes his dirty bike.

Dave washes his dirty bike.

We didn’t take many pictures. ¬†Shot some GoPro video.

If I was still 12, I would have a lot of fun with some of the city names in Saskatchewan. ¬†Today’s favorite was Colonsay. ¬†Reminded me of a scene in Wayne’s World (party on!).

We had Subway for supper. ¬†It was a nice change from the crap we had at Smitty’s in Lloydminster. ¬†That was the worst meal of the trip. ¬†This includes comparison to our Mountain House meals (which were actually pretty good). Best meal ¬†of the trip was Klondike Kate’s in Dawson City.

Back in Fort Nelson, the FJR guy recommended a Russell All Day (or Day Long?) seat.  That might be my next farkle.  My Airhawk was a little off today.  Maybe the lower altitude or perhaps it has shifted?  I will adjust in the morning.

I accidentally left the computer (in a lunch kit) sitting by the bikes while we were gone for an hour for supper.  I would like to thank Yorkton for not taking it.

It’s a short ride to Winnipeg tomorrow. ¬†We will hit Walmart on the way out so I can get some sunglasses. ¬†Maybe I will video us getting onto the bikes tomorrow. ¬†It must look really funny.

People continue to ask about our trip when we stop. ¬†I don’t think that happens much when you travel by car.

Bikes are good.  My oil level seems stable.  Dendog may have an issue with the fan on the Versys.  We will just have to keep moving.

We are great and enjoying the adventure. ¬†I don’t think a trip like this is a “book”. ¬†If this was a single book, our climax would have been the section from Dawson City to Tok. ¬†While that may have been the mission, we have seen so much and traveled so far that everyday is a different kind of excitement.

One day Dendog might write a post to this blog.  Maybe.

Word!